Kesava Dev was an orator par excellence. Dev had developed his ability to address a group, very early in his life when he was a member of the “yuvajana Samajam” at an early age of about fifteen. The Samajam used to meet on the last Sunday of every month with V.A Gopalan Nair as the chairman. One day while participating in a discussion he spoke against untouchability. That was his first speech. At that meeting attended by hardly twenty persons, he spoke at such high pitch as if there were two thousand.

As a speaker the first person who influenced Kesava Dev was Sahodaran Ayyappan, more particularly his speech at Alwaye sand bank against the caste system. Dev later travelled to Vaikkam to witness the Sathyagraha and to listen to the speeches delivered there. He realized that speeches conveyed much information and provided ready-made knowledge and that it created a deeper awareness among a larger section of the people.

His association with Arya Samaj gave him a wider exposure to speeches delivered by many leaders. Besides, Kesava Dev was now well acquainted with great writers like Leo Tolstoy, Maxim Gorky, kunt Hamsun and Romain Rolland. He read “Ten days that shook the world” by John read written about the Russian Revolution Dev was attracted to communism. He declared himself a communist, sported a red shirt and kept on speaking about the Revolution. He at that time believed that conditions were ripe in India for the next revolution. His first speech calling for a total revolution was made Cherai.

Kesava Dev’s fame as a speaker soon started spreading and he started receiving invitations from far and near. After each speech Dev used to make a self-evaluation. Once at Kanjirapilly he employed a different technique to gain the attention of the audience. He quoted from Maxim Gorky, the story of robbing the coffin for bread and wine. The speech was a success.

Public speaking became a passion for Dev. He was looking forward to address the coir workers of Alleppey. They were the most exploited lot at that time. Dev was invited to address the Annual Day Celebration of the coir factory. While all other speakers gave moral teachings to the workers Dev stood up and exorted them to fight for their rights and privileges. The workers applauded him and encouraged him. He addressed the Naval workers union at Klappana and compared Divan Sir.C.P.Ramaswamy Iyer to Rasputin of Russia. The Chairman adjourned the meeting but the crowd remained and listened to him in rapt attention. Dev was subsequently banned from making speeches at Kollam and Kottayam districts.

Though initially Dev had upheld the Communist ideals, he was disillusioned by the post Revolutionary changes in Russia. He had no hesitation to speak against communism with vehemance. After the adoption of Calcutta Thesis, there was an attempt to adopt a manifesto at the progressive Literacy Conference held at Trichur. Kesava Dev’s persuasive speech averted that disaster by walking out of the meeting and all delegates followed suit.

As the Sahithya Parishad meeting held at Tellichery in 1934 Dev set fire to a big controversy by exhorting that art and literature must be brought down from the ivory towers to common man. In yet another meeting he questioned the credibility of Ezhuthachan.

At the Sahithya Parishad meeting held at Trivandrum, he introduced himself as the literary scheduled caste in front of an august audience. His sarcasm was well directed and it had the desired effect.

Dev had scant regard for literary theoreticians and critics. He made use of every opportunity to slash them and tease them as technicians and mechanics. Dev had a sharp tongue and rare ability to carry the crowd with him. He spoke with much conviction-conviction born out of the courage he earned through his life.
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